Janae Sergio

Once homeless, this Navy veteran hopes to be on the cover of Maxim

November 2, 2018

By Matt Saintsing / ConnectingVets.com

Janae Sergio’s path to the Navy was anything but expected. Having been homeless since her sophomore year in high school, she was focused on daily survival, often eating ketchup packets. 

But today, the 36-year-old proud Navy veteran is competing to win money for homes for wounded veterans and homeless youth.

Sergio hopes to rise above the competition to be on the cover of Maxim Magazine in a contest that comes with a cool $25,000 for the winner, and a national stage to inspire the next generation of people who find themselves on tough times.  

“Living in survival mode, I didn’t really see much of a future for myself,” she tells Connecting Vets. 

That changed when a high-school friend of hers joined the Navy, who invited Sergio out with a recruiter. 

Janae Sergio

Sergio says joining the military “wasn’t even on my radar."

"But I didn’t have any hope, so I figured to give this a try.”

She joined the Navy in 2000 without a high-school diploma with a waiver in the hopes she could graduate through her service. And she did, on the mess deck of the aircraft carrier, USS John C. Stennis off the coast of Pakistan while deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

Like a scene from a movie, as al-Qaeda was being pounded from a barrage of coalition airpower, Sergio was taking the tests for her GED. 

Since leaving the military in 2008, she’s gone on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in business management using the GI Bill.

Currently, she lives in Hawaii and manages a $5 billion budget for ships, submarines and aviation maintenance of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet. 

On the side, she’s gained an impressive following on Instagram promoting veteran owned-businesses.

As a mother of two, she was a little apprehensive when she saw Maxim’s competition online. But after seeing the power of the military and veteran community, she’s been able to rise above an impressive field of more than 30,000 and is heading towards the semi-finals. 

To read more about Sergio and find out how can help her win click here